The Central Kalahari Game Reserve was for a long time closed to the public, and it is still now only accessible to any great extent by mobile safari-goers. There are a handful of excellent lodges scattered around the periphery however, so the Kalahari does have something to offer the fly-in safari-goer too.
Situated in the centre of Botswana, the Central Kalahari measures 52,800 square kilometres, bigger than Denmark or Switzerland. The reserve varies in vegetation from sparse scrub and rolling dunes in the north, through the characteristically flat, “bushveld” plains in the central area, to denser mopane woodlands in the south.
The Kalahari Desert is home to the San or Basarwa people, more commonly referred to as Bushmen. These ancient peoples have formed settlements in the southern area of the reserve having lived for many thousands of years as nomadic hunter-gatherers. Several of the lodges around the Kalahari offer walks led by (cont.)
Bushmen guides, to give visitors a unique insight into the desert and the lives and customs of the people that live there.
The rains fall early in the year, from December to March, and during these months the bush becomes verdant and wildlife congregates in the valleys between the dunes and on the pans. This is the best time to visit the Kalahari for game-viewing, and you are likely to see a wide variety of wildlife including giraffe, cheetah, vast herds of wildebeest, springbok and gemsbok, as well as black-maned lion.
During the winter months (April – October), the temperatures drop from their summer highs of 400C to a pleasant 250, although evenings and nights will be cold. Game viewing is not as good, but there is some stunning scenery on offer and it may be worth a trip for a seasoned safari traveller looking to experience a desert environment.
The main attraction of most safaris is the wildlife - find out what to expect here.
A great way to explore the bush is at dusk when nocturnal wildlife begins to emerge.
The only way to get truly acquainted with the African bush is to see it on foot. Walking safaris offer a unique insight into an amazing habitat.
Africa is home to many thousands of species of birds, so don't forget your binoculars and spotting guide.
Just because it may rain doesn't mean you can't enjoy a magical safari at a time with few visitors and stunning scenery.
There are many lodges and hotels in Botswana that positively encourage families with young children to stay - find out more by clicking here.